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Capital Allocators – Inside the Institutional Investment Industry

May 14, 2018

Kim Lew is the Vice President and CIO of Carnegie Corporation, where she is responsible for the investment and oversight of the Corporation’s $3.5 billion Foundation. Kim joined Carnegie in 2007 after spending a dozen years at the Ford Foundation. She is also a Trustee of Ariel Investments, the Board Chair of the Stevens Cooperative Schools, and a member of the investment committees of the Girl Scouts of America and the ACLU, and the steering committee of the Private Equity Women Investor Network. Last year, Institutional Investor awarded her Endowment & Foundation CIO of the year.


Our conversation covers the American dream story of Kim’s parents, Kim’s path to picking technology stocks and venture capital managers at Ford Foundation, two very different models of successful Foundation investing, blow-by-blow of the creation of an atypical Co-CIO seat at Carnegie, responsibilities that CIOs hate, idiosyncratic investments, committee meetings that foster long-term thinking, evolution of a farm team of managers, risk-taking in investing and life, and what to do when you turn 50 years old.


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Show Notes

1:52 – A look at Kim’s background

4:03 – How did her family life impact her schooling

5:26 – Was there anything in her upbringing that drew her to business

6:18 – First job out of college

7:15 – Heading to Harvard Business School

8:42 – The move to Prudential

9:48 – Her time at Ford Foundation

17:35 – Move to venture funds at Ford

18:20 – Comparing the job of sourcing managers then to today

20:27 – Kim’s move to Carnegie

22:42 – How the investment thinking was different at Carnegie

26:32 – How did their thinking on investing play out in individual decisions

27:55 – The decision to have Co-CIO’s

34:22 – Worst parts of being a CIO

37:13 – An outside responsibility that has been helpful to Kim’s career

38:56 – How the thinking on an investment committee for a pension can be different

40:05 – Stepping into the sole CIO role

41:06 – Imparting your influence on investment decisions when you are less in the weeds

41:42 – Carnegie's investment strategy

46:38 – Implementation

56:59 – Taking risks vs being smart with your capital

1:01:36 – 50 things she had never done before

1:05:42 – Closing questions